Asian Elephant ( Elephas maximus )
Asian Elephant - Asian Elephant information - Asian Elephant facts
Elephas maximus is a huge mammal with the weight of 5 500 kilograms and height of approximately 10 feet. It has got a big head with a long trunk. At the end of its trunk there is a small finger tip, which enables it to pick up small objects. For instance the African Elephant has got two finger tips at the end of their trunks. Asian Elephant has got two bumps on forehead and small ears. These features distinguish it from other elephants. It has got brownish colour and powerful, massive four legs. Only the male elephants have got ivory tusks. These large mammals inhabit savannas, plains and jungles in India and in south-east Asia.
Asian elephant mainly feeds on grass, barn, leaves, fruits etc. They can eat up to 200 kilograms of food a day. For feeding they use their flexible long trunks. These trunks enable them to pick up small objects (grass, leaves and fruits), move bigger objects (for instance trees) and to drink water. They suck water up and consequently they squirt it into their mouth. Once their trunk gets dirty from sand, soil they can clean it in two different ways. They either suck water up in their trunks or they squeeze their trunks while inner trunks glands produce a liquid which cleans the trunk from the inner side. Then they squirt out the water or a liquid from their trunks.
Mating usually occurs at the age of 20. At this age elephants are also fully grown and mature. Gestation period lasts almost two years and one offspring is born. Its weight is about 300 pounds. Elephants live up to 70 years. Asian elephants often live in small groups which are led by an old female elephant. The number of animals in a group varies a lot. Provided that there is enough food the group can be quite numerous.
Elephas maximus belongs to endangered animals. Its main threat are poachers (ivory tusks) and decreasing size of their natural habitat. It is supposed there are approximately 40 000 Asian elephants in the world. Elephants also play an inevitable part in some religions and proverbs.